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- How to teach a kitten to sharpen its claws
- More tips depending on the age of the kitten
- How to get an adult cat to use a scratching post
- How to teach a cat to use a new scratching post
- Teaching your cat to use the scratching post:recap
- Products for making cats to use the scratching post
- What you should avoid
When a kitten or adult cat comes into the house, the owner has a responsibility for the new pet, its care and education. One of the owner’s main desires is to protect furniture from damage.
- In this article we will explain in detail how to train a cat to use a scratching post.
- Share helpful teaching tips.
- Advice on how to quickly and easily teach a cat to sharpen its nails at the scratching post.
How to teach a kitten to sharpen its claws
The younger the kitten, the easier it is to train him. Babies quickly pick up everything and develop habits.
For the kitten to understand what you want from him, be consistent in your actions and be patient. Below we will tell you step by step how to train the kitten to use a scratching post.
Step 1 Choose a scratching post
One important rule applies here – you choose not for yourself, but for the pet. There is no need to match this item with the interior design of the apartment, choose models that are visually pleasing to you. If the kitten does not like the scratching post, the owners are doomed to failure.
- Give preference to high models. The cat should have the opportunity to stretch and scratch as high as possible.
- If you bought a wall-mounted scratching post, hang it up so that the cat can fully extend its front legs above its head while standing on its hind legs.
- Purchase stable models. If the kitten feels the scratching post wobbling or shifting, it might be frightened and refuse to use the post.
- Choose a texture that the kitty likes. If the kitten likes to scratch the carpet, carpeted options are fine. If you’re not sure what will work, try a scratching post with natural rope wrapped around the post or corrugated cardboard models.
- Avoid models made of synthetic fibers and ropes, they create static electricity, it scares the cats.
- Give your pet a choice, buy several accessories with different textures.
Step 2 Limit access
Limit your pet’s access to the places it has chosen to sharpen its claws.
- Cover upholstered furniture (sofas and chairs) with covers, a heavy blanket or plastic wrap.
- Remove carpets or spray them with citrus-scented spray, cats don’t like it.
- Wrap tinfoil or double-sided tape around the scratching area. Animals do not like to touch foil or sticky surfaces.
- Before leaving the house, close off rooms with upholstered furniture that the pet has chosen to sharpen its claws.
- Place the scratching post directly in front of the object the kitten likes to scratch.
Step 3 Choose the place
Choosing the location for the scratching post is an important step in the learning process. The scratching post should be placed in locations suitable for cats. Do not put them in the corner or hide them in hard-to-reach places. This is convenient for the owners, but will not please the cats. Install it where it will be convenient for the cat to use it as a “territory marker”.
- Put it at the front door, under the window and wherever there is a place chosen by the pet for sharpening claws.
- If the cat likes to stretch and sharpen its claws after waking up, place a horizontal claw bar where the cat likes to sleep.
- Observe the animal. If it sharpens its nails on vertical surfaces, place the scratching post vertically. If the pet likes to sharpen its claws on carpets, place a horizontal model.
Place several scratching posts in different places. This will increase the chances that the cat will not touch your furniture and carpets.
Step 4 Raise the interest
The last step is to increase interest and attract attention to the scratching surface.
- To attract the cat to the new object, you can spray the scratching post with a special product for habituation.
- To increase the attractiveness of the new object for the cat you can use valerian. A few drops of it will be enough to smear on the scratching post.
- The same effect is produced by catnip, the smell of which drives kittens and adult cats crazy. Simply sprinkle dried catnip on the base and top of the scratching post.
- Engage with games and toys. Play with the kitten next to the scratching post. Decorate it with feathers or light balls that the cat will play with. Thus, during the game, the baby will understand that it is convenient to sharpen claws on this object.
- Try putting the sharpening stick on its side. This will make it easier for the kittens to get used to it. When they get used to it, put it upright.
- Praise the cat every time it uses the item properly.
- Offer your pet’s favorite treat when it puts its paws on the surface to sharpen claws. Give a treat every time the kitten sharpened its claws where you expect it to do so. Treats will help to create a positive attitude and the habituation process will go faster.
- You can get attention by borrowing this cat accessory from someone you know. The kitten will sense someone else’s scent and will try to interrupt it by scratching the surface that has retained the scent of another animal.
- Gently place the kitten’s paws on the scratching surface and make scratching movements. Be calm at this moment, talk to the kitten affectionately.
The more often the kitten scratches the scratching post, leaving its scent behind, the more attractive the object will become to the cat.
More tips depending on the age of the kitten
At this age, patience and cat treats will be your helpers.
- Take the kitten’s favorite treat and call him to the scratching post.
- Lift the treat over the kitten so that he reaches for it and puts his paws on the post.
- Praise him for it and give him a treat.
- Touch and talk affectionately.
- Repeat these steps until the baby learns to sharpen his nails at the right place.
Older kittens are taught in the form of a game. Attract attention with toys and show them how to sharpen their claws. The main goal of the owner is to show the kitten that it is interesting to play with this new object. Positive results are celebrated with praise and treats.
Adult kittens develop their own preferences and habits. The main efforts of the owner should be aimed at fighting the scratching of furniture and carpets. Unwanted scratching places should be made unattractive, repulsive. And attract attention to the scratching post with sprays or other smells that cats like (catnip, valerian).
How to get an adult cat to use a scratching post
If you need to train an adult cat who is tearing up furniture and carpets, you will have to be patient. Adult animals are self-sufficient. They will not tolerate you picking them up by their paws and scratching the surface with them to sharpen their claws. This will scare them off and they will avoid the scratching post. This method works only with small kittens.
So, what can help?
- You can try treating the surface of the scratching post with attractive scent sprays.
- Borrow a scratching post from a neighbor. An adult animal will try to overpower someone else’s smell with its own.
- To attract the cat’s attention, sprinkle dried valerian or catnip on the scratching post and rub the grass into the surface for sharpening.
- Offer the cat a large-sized scratching post; small models may be ignored by adult pets.
- Cover the places the cat chooses to scratch with bubble wrap. The sound of bursting bubbles scares away all animals.
- Every time your pet shows interest in the scratching post, praise him and encourage him with a treat.
How to teach a cat to use a new scratching post
If you bought a new scratching post and the cat ignores it or does not understand what it is for, use our tips:
- Spray the new item with a catnip solution or a special catnip product for habituation.
- Pamper your pet with a scrap of cloth, tie a scented handkerchief to the post, this will increase interest in the item. Cats are not afraid of things with their scent.
- Pet someone else’s cat with a handkerchief, attach the handkerchief to the panel. Your pet will not tolerate someone else’s smell and will try to get rid of it by tearing off the handkerchief with his nails.
- If the pet doesn’t show interest in the new item, try to move it to another place. Place it under a window where the cat is used to watching what’s going on outside, spying on birds. Excitement encourages scratching.
Teaching your cat to use the scratching post:recap
10 effective tips that will lead you to success:
- Offer the cat different models (in layout, texture). This way you will find one that the animal likes.
- Move the scratching post until you find the place the cat is most interested in.
- Patiently repeat attempts, bring the cat to the scratching post several times a day. Try to catch the moment when the animal is just awake. After sleeping, most cats stretch and scratch with their claws.
- Purchase several models of different textures and orientations (horizontal, vertical, angled, slanted). The cat should have a choice.
- If the cat gets its nails in the wrong place, you must strictly tell it “no”, accustoming it to the command, and take the pet to a place where it can scratch. Yelling is unacceptable!
- Choose a model of the right height. The cat must have an opportunity to stretch the spine, which is one of the causes of scratching. Models that are too low are not suitable for this.
- Start training at a young age.
- Make sure it is securely fixed. Get models with a stable base or attach it to the floor. Cats are afraid of scratching posts that sway under the weight of the cat.
- There should be at least two scratching posts for each animal in the house.
- Spray all surfaces that can be scratched with products containing synthetic pheromones.
Products for making cats to use the scratching post
The pet industry offers veterinary products for accustoming your pet to the scratching post. Use them to accelerate learning, and increase your pet’s interest.
The best means for habituation:
- Feliscratch by Feliway. This drug free solution uses natural pheromones to reproduce the scent marks and visual marks of scratches, thereby encouraging your cat to scratch where the product is applied.
- Comfort Zone. Drug-free solution that helps to calm your stressed cat and reduce urine spraying, scratching, and other unwanted behaviors.
What you should avoid
These negative training methods can lead to undesirable consequences:
- Spraying cats with water from a sprayer.
- Scaring away with loud sounds (coins in a tin can).
- Physical punishment for sharpening claws in the wrong place.
Most cats feel a lot of stress because of such owners’ behavior. It provokes them to behave in a way that their owners wouldn’t like. Never use these parenting methods unless you want the cat to defecate and urinate in the wrong places.
Focus on positive motivation. Praise, pet and treat your cat whenever it uses the scratching post or just shows interest in it.